Capsule Reviews 11/24/08

Avengers/Invaders #6 of 12 – We reach the midway point here and a ton is going on. Cap and Namor are captured and out of the picture. The New Avengers find a war veteran and Toro, who’s learning too much about the future. They are trying to find the Cosmic Cube that’s causing all of this trouble. Meanwhile, LMD’s have manipulated The Human Torch (the original, not Johnny Storm) into helping them take over the SHEILD Hellicarrier. Both plots are at least fairly interesting, though why the LMD’s really need Torch must be addressed, this is one of the better mini-series in a good while. There’s a lot going on, a good amount of action, and a cleverly building mystery about who’s behind it all. I’m quite pleased. 8/10 – Great

Deadpool #4 – I’m not sure why I get this. I really greatly enjoy Deadpool as a character and really greatly opposite of enjoy Daniel Way as a writer. He does a decent Deadpool, though apparently ‘Pool has two personalities inside his head he talks to for no reason, this is at least amusing. The plot? Straight comedy with Deadpool taking on a random Eastern European Zombie making scientist. If you like pure comedy, this is fine. For anything like character depth, great plot, and so on, look elsewhere. 6/10 – Solid

Detective Comics #850 – Dini is the best Batman writer ever. Hush’s plan to destroy Batman through Catwoman is masterfully conceived and adds hush to the top of the list of villains who are like Batman, with a twist. The themeatic differences based on Bruce’s compassionate and Hush’s greedy motivations make for an excellent character study that’s present in all of the best Batman books. When you add in Catwoman’s deviously clever revenge, you have what is at least one of the best Batman arcs of the past several years, possible a defining storyline. 10/10 – Classic

Ex Machina #39 – Mayor Hundred finally confronts the silly terrorist who’s been plaguing him and it turns out she’s merely after a kiss. Aww. Hundred is also offered a spot at the UN and remains undecided. Not a ton happens, but the promise of secrets revealed and the blowoff to this low-key storyline keep it interesting. This isn’t the best book on the market and it moves rather slowly, but it remains an interesting character/political study mixed with some fun allegory. If you don’t need explosions to enjoy your comics, check this out. 7/10 – Good

Fables #78 – With the Emperor deposed, a great, evil old power has returned. His power is in the witching cloak. He wants that and death to any who take it. Our friendly fables remain unaware of this and continue to adjust to life after war. This is not the book’s strongest arc, though with the demonic thing coming, it has potential to pick up soon. 4/10 – Below Average

Green Lantern Corps #30 – Krib, among the creepiest villains around, finally is confronted. Meanwhile, the Guardians continue their collective mental breakdown by abolishing relationships between Lanterns, while they are undone from within by the Sinestro traitor. All around, this is high class space opera and while it brings the awesome, the promise of more to come and the sense of a controlled spiral down to an epic fall make this a truly great book. 8/10 – Great

Invincible #55 – While Invincible gets some with Atom Eve, we join Allen the Alien as he befriends and then frees Invincible’s father Omni-Man from the evil Vitrulimites. With this we have the Vitrulimites secret revealed and the arch leading to their invasion of Earth kicks off. It’s an old-style issue with “Dear Readers” style narration and thought bubbles, but the tone works, since Allen always seems in inherently silly, silver-age character. The tone will need to shift as Earth enters a battle for existence, but until then, we have an interesting bit of set up. 5/10 – Average

Kingdom Come Special: Superman – In which Superman looks for the prophet from Kingdom Come, patterned after writer/artist Alex Ross’s father. I think this issue was just an excuse for Alex to draw him again, because besides the minor plot point of revealing how the Joker kills Lois Lane to set up Kingdom Come, there’s nothing here that advances the plot. 4/10 – Below Average

Kingdom Come Special: Magog – This is more like it. In this issue we have Magog visiting the soldiers he formed a unit with in his former life, watching them suffer and die as he grows colder and becomes the Magog of Kingdom Come. The book is all first person narration, which really helps in making Magog seem justified, even while his methodology is a bit extreme. If you haven’t read a Peter Tomasi book, pick this and Green Lantern Corps up, they’re great. 7/10 – Good

Robin #180 – With Batman gone, Gotham is falling apart. There’s a giant conspiracy to throw everything into Chaos and Robin fights a few assassins and a Red Robin, who turns out to be the General. While Robin is up to this task, he ends up finding out, in the cliffhanger that Anarchy is behind all the trouble in Gotham. This is fairly fitting with Anarchy’s original portrayal, but it ignores Anarchy’s 2 mini-series which developed him into more of an Ayn Rand themed protagonist. Still, a tiny fraction read that compared to the huge fanbase that knows him from Batman, so I suppose it’s forgivable, even if he was greatly preferable the previous way. Anarchy has always seemed themed after V from Vendetta, so ideally, assuming he’s the protagonist, he’ll wax rhapsodic about his plans before revealing he won before he started. Well, ideally, this is a red herring and Anarchy joins the side of angels in a more prominent role, but still, I’m thrilled to see one of my favorite characters back and really looking forward to more of this book… until the upcoming cancellation. 7/10 – Good

Thunderbolts #126 – A new creative team comes with an alteration in direction. Andy Diggle has the psychos fully in control. Norman Osborn is a national hero who wants a witch hunt for Skrull collaborators and “disbands” the Thunderbolts, while those who are on the team turn on each other. Particularly effective is the dismantling of the pathetic Penance, but either way it’s good to see this dark book stay the course and go on to some uncomfortable places. It’s only fitting for a tea of psychos. 7/10 – Good

Uncanny X-Men #504 – What the hell was that? We start with examining how freaked Colossus is…. though for the life of me, I have no idea why. (Grey informs me this is due to Kitty leaving in Astonishing; glad he got to his self loathing in a timely manner then). Scott asks him to leave the team, then freaks about it… again, I have no idea why. Then he randomly has some guy he runs into in a diner be the “devil” from his childhood who is then inserted into Mr. Rasputin’s origin with all the subtlety of a jackhammer. We then go into Cyclops brain with Emma, and apparently all he has is a lot of women, but no redheads. She finds his “hidden stuff” brainbox and claims its all strategies. She believes him for no reason, since obviously Jean Grey and Madelyn Prior are in there. Of course, Scott saw Madelyn last month and he’s keeping that a secret for no readily apparent reason. Finally we have Hank recruit Dr. Nemesis, a Nazi-scientist hunter. This is the only scene that actually works, and it does so because it’s so brazenly ballsy and insane. He joins the X-Men. That’s all that’s keeping me from dropping this. 3/10 – Poor

Walking Dead #54 – For my money, the best book on the market. I won’t be spoiling a damn thing about it ever. Make sure you read from the first trade. We finally get the mystery of the talking sword and another transition here. The cause of zombies isn’t revealed and I smell a disaster brewing, but still, great build, great book 9/10 – Excellent

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